The day we long knew was coming has finally arrived. The first moves are being made to kill off physical media, and it is Disney firing the first shots. Like many things – refrigerators, crankless engines, crouch starting races, the tank, and penal colonies – it is Australia where this shall start. According to a report from Dark Horizons, Disney is ceasing new DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD physical media releases in Australia, probably right after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is released on August 9th.
Disney had a “Dump it!” order put on their stock yesterday by several influential analysts, so they will no doubt be playing this as a cost-cutting measure. It all started with a posting on Facebook from Australian retailer Sanity:
“Farewell to Disney’s physical media in Australia.”
That included a linking to their catalog of Disney/Fox movies and shows. After they were challenged in their comments, they were clear:
“To help clear up any confusion or questions. There is no way we would post this if we didn’t know it was happening. Guardians of The Galaxy will be the last preorder.”
Twelve hours later, the post was gone. But this is the internet, there are always receipts. After this story ran across the internet and even turned up on Disney Fanatic the Australian media reached out to Disney for comment to be met with silence. So film critic Peter Walkden spoke with staff at a branch of major Australian retailer JB Hi-Fi who confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will be the last Disney release to go on disc until further notice.
The Little Mermaid, Elemental, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny are all showing no listing for an Australian release on physical media. Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits investigated further and according to the Dark Horizons report, had this to say:
“We have confirmed today with multiple industry, distributor, and retailer sources in the region that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is indeed pulling out of the Australian market in terms of physical media.
This follows similar moves in Asia (save for Japan) and Latin America, and the reason is apparently down to the gradual collapse of physical disc sales in the region, the growth of Disney+ Star streaming, and also the rise of global retailers (think Amazon, Zavvi, etc).
None of that will be of any comfort to disc fans in Australia, who will now have to pay a hefty shipping premium to import titles from outside the country. But it is true that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 3 will be the last new-release Disney title to get a physical release in the region.
Previously-released titles may continue to be available for purchase until the end of the year, but that will be up to individual retailers.
Now, let us as Outposters join together to wish we spent more time rummaging through the clearance bins at our local Blockbuster, where three movies cost about $6 right at the end of Blockbuster’s time on Earth.
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